Better than the Real Thing

By Kimberly Ward


For the first time in the Sims universe, going all the way back to The Sims 1 in 2000, these Sims actually seem human. They can finally multitask – reading books while going to the bathroom, talking while cooking, or enjoying music while they paint – which is a much-needed feature in a life simulator. What makes the Sims really different now is their emotions. A Sim with a flirty trait will have positive emotions when flirting, and will have negative emotions if they haven’t flirted in a while. They get embarrassed when they tell a bad joke, or excited when something goes their way. Sims can even die from laughing or heartbreak.

Sims 4 developer Maxis has also made the game more realistic with the new Create-A-Sim feature. This is how you create the people who will live under your command, whether you’re a control freak or a bystander. With the new system, you can simply drag your mouse over a Sims feature to change it. You can create a man with big hips, strong shoulders, and a tiny waist, if you want. Now your Sims can stand out in truly unique ways. I was, however, disappointed by the lack of a height slider. People can look extremely different, but they’re all going to blend together on the screen with no height difference. At present there are no toddlers in The Sims 4, which is odd, as they’ve been in all previous games. Babies live in their cradle until a certain amount of time goes by and then POOF! they turn into a child. Toddlers, pools, and ghosts are among the things Maxis left out of the base game, but will be integrating for free in the form of downloadable updates.

Once you’ve created your Sims, you have to find - or build - a house. If architecture is your passion you will most likely spend hours building the perfect home. The Sims 4 has an upgraded build mode which allows you to drag your mouse to make rooms bigger or smaller, and even lets you pick up entire rooms to move them. Fans of previous Sims games will notice something different about the houses right away: There are no basements, no garages (because there are no cars!), and no way to build split-level homes. But not to worry, there are still plenty of available windows, doors, furniture, and decorations to style your house. A new feature allows you to search for items by colour and style, which is nice for creating themes.

A feature that any Sims 3 fan will miss is the Create-A-Style. This allowed you to change the colour or texture of any object in the game. Now you’ll have to resort to the search function and hope everything comes together well enough on its own.

There are a lot of ups and downs in this game, but I like it. I don’t find it as much fun as The Sims 3, but when I first got that game, I felt the same way about The Sims 2. This type of game needs a lot of content to make it truly enjoyable. The new emotions, Create-A-Sim, and building features all fit that criteria. The fact that Maxis is releasing free content is excellent too. Right now this game isn’t complete, but I know it will be in the future, and I’m excited.